||Military service creditable toward civilian service:
As a general rule, military service in the Armed Forces of the United
States is creditable for retirement purposes if it was active service
terminated under honorable conditions, and performed prior to your
separation from civilian service. A DD-214 or equivalent is required to
verify the service dates and discharge. There are benefits to obtaining
credit for your military service including an increased federal annuity
when you retire. Federal employees with military service must understand
how military credits impact their benefits and need to take action early
on in their careers to avoid paying penalties that are assessed if you
delay making a military deposit.
CAUTION - OPM's
Benefit Administration Letter # 13-103 issued June 2013
discontinued military service deposits after separation. The military
deposit process is drawn out
and it can take months to receive your military earnings estimate
and contribution amount. Start the process early, long before you intend to
retire, to ensure your military deposit is paid prior to separation. A link
to Administrative Letter #13-103 is provided under the
Resources heading on this page.
Creditable Service & Military Deposit Procedures
Retired Military & Military Deposits: Retired military
members must waive military retired pay in order to receive credit for
military service in a civilian annuity, unless your military retirement is based
- A service-connected disability incurred in combat with an enemy of the
- On account of a service-connected disability caused by an
instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of
- Under provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739 (retired members of the
If you are retired military and are receiving full military retirement pay,
it is not usually advantageous to make a military deposit, because you must
waive your military retired pay for the service period to be included in the
civilian retirement annuity. Usually the full military retirement is of
greater value than the civilian retirement annuity. If you are uncertain
if making a military deposit is beneficial, simply request two retirement
estimates from your HR office – one with the military service included and one
without, then compare the difference. A deposit is usually required for the
active duty military service to be credited in your civilian retirement annuity.
NOTE: Retired military that
buy back their years service have to waive their military retirement pay
when they retire from federal civil service. You will still collect your
military retirement until you start receiving your civil service retirement.
Many military retirees often enter federal civil service in their early to
mid 40s. It they find it advantageous to buy back their military time and
add that time to their FERS retirement, they will still collect their
military retirement until they elect to retire from the civil service at
their MRA, age 60 or 62 or later.
Review the article on
this subject to determine if it is worth your while to buy back your
retired military time. Also review Chapter 22 of the CSRS and FERS handbook
National Guard/Reserve Point retirement (which is less than 7300 Active
Duty points) and receivable at age 60 can be collected concurrently with a
federal civil service retirement. Your Reserve or ANG time will not impact
your CSRS or FERS annuity payments. For additional information on service
Chapter 22 of the CSRS and FERS handbook.
If you retired from the reserves, making a deposit for your years of
active-duty service would not affect your entitlement to reserve retired pay
if the retired pay was awarded under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 12731-12739
(Chapter 1223). This is the part of the law that grants retired pay to
members of reserve components of the armed forces on the basis of age and
service (active and reserve). Only those employees receiving military
retired pay - not reserve retired pay - are required to waive that pay to
get credit for the time in computing their civilian annuities.
Former military members wishing to have their military time count towards
federal retirement are should follow these easy steps:
- Obtain your total estimated military earnings by sending
RI20-97 and a copy of your DD214 to your
military pay representative. Use a separate request for each branch of
service, if you served in more than one branch. Individuals who do not have
a DD 214 or equivalent should get a SF 180 from the personnel office and
have their service verified before forwarding the request form to the pay
center. The pay center cannot provide estimated earnings unless
verification of service is attached. The military
payroll office will send you a short letter or form indicating your total
estimated earnings during your military service.
- With you total military earnings and a copy of your DD-214 in
hand, contact your HR office. You will need to complete one more form
(SF-3108 or SF-2803). This form requires a statement on the form
concerning military deposits, which is not available on the on-line version.
Obtain the edited form from your HR office. HR will forward the
documents to your civilian payroll office. Your payroll office will
bill you directly.
- Make the deposit to your civilian payroll office. You can
pay the deposit in one lump sum, a series of payments, or sign up for
payroll deductions, normally for as little as $50 per pay period. The
deposit must be paid in full while you are employed and cannot be made after
- When the deposit is complete, your payroll office will send you a
letter that the deposit is paid in full. Keep this document for your
permanent retirement records and send a copy to your HR office.
Payroll will not usually notify your HR office of the deposit, so it is very
important that you retain a copy of this letter until you retire.
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